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The Choice is Clear

October 18, 2010

Yesterday I attended the Elgin Area Chamber “Good Morning Elgin” Candidate Forum.  Of all the elements I could write about, two stood out.  First, the Democratic opponents for Republicans Ruth Munson and Tim Schmitz didn’t even bother to show, and according to Schmitz this is a habit for his opponent.  Yes, I know there are scheduling conflicts which can arise however this was an opportunity to speak to business leaders regarding topics utmost on their minds—jobs and the economy.

With over 750,000 people having exited Illinois in the last ten years, a loss of more than 700 manufacturing companies and over 52,000 manufacturing jobs last year— “one of its worst declines in nearly a century”, the downgrading of Illinois’ bond rating, unpaid bills of $8.75 billion, a massive “unfunded pension liability (pension deficit) of $62 billion”, a deficit of $13 billion, a stunning debt totaling over $130 billion—one of the worst in the nation, corporations building new facilities in any state but Illinois, two consecutive governors indicted—one in jail, the other on the way—systemic corruption, pay to play…maybe Chicken Little was right.

The lone Democrat, who apparently had the courage to face the business community, was Senator Noland.  Unfortunately he demonstrated exactly why the choice for businesses is clear—we cannot afford (and I mean that literally) to send one Democrat to Springfield.

Munson, Schmitz, and Steve Rauschenberger all evinced a clear understanding of the catastrophic situation we are in, and proposed positive solutions for righting the ship of state—fulfilling Constitutional oaths to balance the budget; doing the job that legislators have been denied because of the reign of Democratic Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, in what can only be characterized as dictatorial powers in controlling the legislative agenda and spending us into oblivion; ending the deployable practice of patronage to union overlords; and genuinely wanting to work with the other side to save our state to name a few.  While, logically, we did not dig this hole in a year and there exists no “silver bullet” to get us out, each expressed definitive ways to get us moving in the right direction, albeit recognizing that this will not be a pain free process, nor is it likely to engender popularity.  Each spoke of returning Illinois to its once proud position as a leading State in the Union.

On the other side, currently with a Democratic majority in the House and a super majority in the Senate, and an overall majority for most of the past decade, Senator Noland’s attempt to blame these Republicans—two former and one currently serving—for this mess is ridiculous on its face.  Trying to use the Democratic tactic of “blaming Bush” at the State level, while having full control of the Executive and Legislative branches for almost a decade isn’t playing well in Peoria, or in Elgin.

The second item was a stunning surreptitious remark made by Senator Noland, basically reminiscent of Vice President Biden’s comment that it was the patriot duty of the citizens of Illinois to accept the fact that we’re all going to have to dig deep into our lint filled pockets to give more of our hard earned and scarce dollars to the politicians in Springfield, to continue to fund their profligate spending because he is apparently under the delusion that we’re holding back.  His reference to a bill he proposed to “swamp” a 33% state income tax hike for a paltry return on property tax—which according to Rauschenberger for a individual earning $66,000 is an approximate tax increase of $1300 less about $200 in property tax relief, resulting in a net tax increase of $1,100—with no guarantee that the legislature won’t come back the very next session to wipe out the relief, is the worst sort of political jujitsu I have witnessed of late.

The hostility toward business that has become pervasive in Washington has oozed its way to the local level.  Without bold and immediate action to reign in spending and correct the trajectory of fiscal and legislative policy at the State and Federal level, we are on an inevitable road to serfdom.  Bush didn’t do it, Illinois Republicans didn’t do it, and while the economic crisis contributed, Josh Barro points out, “Illinois’s crisis is unique in that it is purely a creature of mismanagement by elected officials.”

To sending any Democrat to Springfield or Washington—just say “No”.

Copyright 2010 Julie Schmidt.

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